Rinpoche Gyatso's sermons a major draw among tourists in Himachal

By Prem Thakur, ANI, Aug 10, 2010

Himachal Pradesh, India -- Sermons on Buddhist thoughts delivered by Rinpoche Lobsang Jamphel Jampa Gyatso at the Dagpo Shedrupling Monastery in the scenic Kullu valley are popular among national and international tourists here in Himachal Pradesh.

Hundreds of foreigners have converged at the monastery to listen to the Buddhist teachings from Gyatso at the annual retreat held here.

Followers of Dagpo Riponche come from all over the world from France, England, Australia, Thailand, Canada, Germany and Indonesia.

"I have been following Riponche now for about 20 odd years..., and Riponche found this land may be five to ten years ago or more, and...now we come every year. We come here for a long teaching retreat, may be two-three weeks, and this is very special for us to be here, to be in India, which is the birth place of Buddhism," said Rio Helmi, an Indonesian tourist.

Devotees from abroad also mentioned that they have to intimate in advance to participate in the sermons, often two years in advance since the Riponche has a very busy schedule.

"I am a student of Riponche. I have been following him for a number of years, and I had this special teaching from Jamphel-Jampa. So, I came specifically for this reason. I am extremely happy to be here. This place is absolutely wonderful and asters and teachers are extremely good and this is the reason why I am here," said Stephen Place, a tourist from France.

On their part, the foreign tourists are a happy lot. They hope to get an opportunity to meet His Holiness Dalai Lama who will be visiting the monastery on August 16.

The monastery situated at Kais village near Naggar in picturesque Kullu Valley, with its serene surroundings, was built to commemorate the 15th century Dagpo Monastery in Tibet.

Tibetans living in-exile in India view the new monastery as a way of preserving their religion and culture.

At this monastery, over 200 students from various countries study and learn the teachings of Lord Buddha.

An estimated 80,000 Tibetan arrived in India along with the Dalai Lama after an abortive uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959 and over the years their numbers have increased.